Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Federalist Papers: I did it.

Yes indeed, I managed to read the list of Federalist Papers that was my goal. There were about 20 of them, I suppose. At first they're fairly interesting, and then all the technical talk about exactly how a government should be run kind of gets to you and it turns into a slog, especially the parts that talk about checks and balances, and the powers of the president.

So, yay me! Here's a paragraph that caught my attention particularly, from #51 on checks and balances:

The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

So now that I've done that, I'll move on to post-Constitutional history.

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